Santa Fe Trail Ruts
Once a vital commercial link between the United States and Mexico, the Santa Fe Trail has quietly slipped into the history books. Over time, the remnants of the trail have mostly disappeared. Visitors to Fort Larned National Historic Site’s Santa Fe Trail Ruts Site have a unique opportunity to explore history first hand and see the real ruts left by countless wagons on this legendary trail.
For more information about the Santa Fe Trail and Fort Larned's relationship with it, download "Santa Fe Trail: A Legacy Preserved at Fort Larned," (.pdf) or pick up the brochure at the visitor center.
Visitors must travel approximately 5.5 miles one-way on gravel roads to reach Fort Larned's Santa Fe Trail ruts site. The information provided here is for reference; actual conditions may impact your visit. Before you go, ask a ranger about road conditions.
1. Leaving Fort Larned National Historic Site, turn left (west) on KS Hwy 156.
2. Turn left (south) on 180th Ave and continue four miles to the junction with J Road.
3. Turn right (west) onto J Road and continue one mile.
4. Turn left (south) on 190th Ave. and continue about 1/2 mile to the parking area.
5. The parking area for the trail ruts site will be on your left.
Upon reaching the site, walk a very short distance along the mowed path to see the historic ruts up close. You may also climb the viewing platform to get a bird’s eye view of the ruts.
Did You Know?
Fort Larned is located directly on the Dry Route of the Santa Fe Trail, which follows the Pawnee Fork. The Wet Route, which more closely follows the Arkansas River, is just a few miles to the south. More...